The Washington Post – Sale of a Family Business Newspaper

The recent announcement that the Washington Post newspaper was being sold to Jeff Bezos from, brought back memories of a speaker presentation that Alan Spoon, former president of The Washington Post gave at one of our Center’s meetings. Several years ago we had the opportunity to have Alan Spoon, meet with our Center members at the Northeastern University Center for Family Business, where he discussed the close working relationship he had with the Graham family. Some of the issues he discussed included; non-family executives, educating investors, creation of value and the benefits of longer term vision vs. short-term profits.

Following is a summary of Alan Spoon’s remarks when he was president of the Washington Post.

The Story of The Washington Post: Perspectives from the President

For ten years, Alan Spoon was President of The Washington Post, serving with the famed mother-son team of Katherine and Donald Graham. At this breakfast meeting, Center members learned how Alan managed his role as a non-family member leader of this exceedingly high profile family owned and managed enterprise. More…

Will the Circle Be Unbroken? Managing a Family Business Disaster

Will the Circle Be Unbroken?
Managing a Family Business Disaster

by Richard Narva
Principal Consultant, Genus Resources, Inc.

Sam and Jim were the boisterous and passionate owners and leaders of a thriving manufacturing company near Boston with 85 employees. They were also friends of mine. On the last Saturday in March, they went on a flight to Block Island, off Rhode Island. Their plane developed engine trouble and crash landed on Interstate 495, not far from their company, killing both men instantly.

Occurring just prior to the holiday season, this crash was especially agonizing for their families and friends. But Jim and Sam Snyder were also the owners, the board of directors, the CEO’s, and the leaders of Polymer Design, which they founded and grew from nothing to sustained success. More…